Volvo shifts gear to drive into Indian CV market

Written by Pankaj Doval | New Delhi, Sep 2 | Updated: Sep 3 2007, 04:53am hrs
Swedish commercial vehicle major Volvo is reworking its India strategy and looking at developing specific low horse-power trucks for the market, including from the range of group companies Nissan Diesel and Mack Trucks, that could help it gain a larger share, India managing director Eric Leblanc has said.

The company, that manufactures trucks with 16-tonnes and above capacity at its factory near Bangalore, sold 660 units last fiscal in a segment that accounted for sale of over 1,00,000 units. We would like to have a greater share in the commercial vehicle market in India and are looking at increasing our presence here, Leblanc told FE.

Volvo India sells its heavy-duty trucks in the market, but Leblanc said their high prices (around four times that of segment heavyweights Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland) and European specifications were coming in the way of larger volumes. Each market has its own specifications and a different kind of a driveline is required here, he said, pointing out that higher horse-power Volvo trucks could not be adequately optimised in India as average running speeds on highways were very low due to poor road infrastructure and congestion.

To shore up numbers in Asia where it has a poor 4% share of the overall CV market (that too post-acquisition of Nissan Diesel), the company recently set up a new division Volvo Business Asia. It is a separate division and comprises of truck activities of all our brands -- Volvo, Renault, Nissan Diesel and Mack Trucks. How we can leverage these brands in India and other Asian markets like China is what we are working on, he said.

The company is already working with Nissan Diesel team to work out possible products for the Indian market, though Leblanc said it was in an evaluation stage.

Renault Trucks is one of the largest European truck manufacturers and its product range spans from light commercial vehicles (made for express delivery and city distribution applications) to long-haul heavy trucks and military vehicles.